Duke, Virginia Set for Top 5 Clash Saturday


Saturday will be about Virginia getting their points from 3-point land. The Blue Devils struggled with the Virginia defense in the first meeting, but Duke has been improving a lot since that game.

You could find 300 or so college basketball teams shooting better from behind the 3-point line.

The Blue Devils' lone statistical flaw this season has been 3-point accuracy, and on those occasions when they shoot well beyond the arc, they are untouchable. Notre Dame's Mike Brey had the same wish two weeks ago. The Cavaliers lost to the Blue Devils at John Paul Jones Arena for the third consecutive time.

When Duke beat Virginia 72-70 back on January 19 in Durham, the Blue Devils hit only 2 of 14 3-pointers.

In allowing their most points this season, the Cavaliers were particularly spotty challenging shots from beyond the arc, with the Blue Devils making 13 of 21 while rolling to an 81-71 win.

Duke shot 57.8 percent overall.

More news: Bohemian Rhapsody director Bryan Singer's BAFTA nomination suspended
More news: Groom arrested at his own wedding for 'sexually assaulting teenage waitress'
More news: Problems With Wells Fargo Services Continue for Second Day

It was the most three-pointers Virginia (20-2, 8-2) has permitted this season. "They have some special players in what they can do". It doesn't get much more complete than that. James was dribbling a basketball and laughing as the Blue Devils poured out of the locker room for warm-ups. Virginia is putting up 72.9 points per game on offense this season while shooting 47.7 percent from the field. After this win over Virginia, the gap between Duke and the rest of the country is even wider. R.J. Barrett is leading the team with 23 points and 7.2 rebounds per game while Zion Williamson is adding 22 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. "I practiced off and on all week, and I practiced pretty much the whole time on Friday, and I felt all right".

They hit 15 the following game while smashing Army 94-72.

Williamson - who had 18 points, five rebounds, and five assists - made up for his turnovers, though, with three steals and three blocks, including a sensational swat on a 3-point attempt by Virginia's De'Andre Hunter with 4:37 to play that left the Cavaliers with just five seconds remaining on the shot clock.

Mixed in there, along with the 2 of 14 against Virginia, was a 2 of 21 day against Georgia Tech and a 3 of 20 game against Texas Tech. The Blue Devils are 35th in scoring defense and 18th in tempo. Hunter appeared open for a 3-pointer from the corner. He and Barrett have continually taken center stage, while fellow freshmen Cam Reddish (17 points) and Tre Jones (13 points, seven assists, six rebounds) also had strong showings.

Thus the very valid idea that Duke's perimeter shooting was a weakness.

Duke made five of its first eight shots after halftime, including three Reddish 3-pointers over the first five minutes, to push its lead back into double-digits.